hile the song may say "It's a Small
World After All," the planet is not a tiny place, and there are
lots of destinations that don't get as much attention as they
Crystal Carroll, manager of Conference Travel Limited in
Raleigh, N.C., said one of her top relatively unknown destinations
"Grenada is one of the places that people do not ask for," said
Carroll. "It's a place where a lot of people do not go, but it's an
almost untouched island. There are a lot of natural places there,
and you're not going to find 2,000 people in one spot."
has sent a handful of clients to the island. "They thought it was a
perfect place to go."
Dan Curd, owner of Dan's Travel in Madison, Wis., cited Tahiti
as one of his favorite places because the island is "so superior to
Hawaii or the Caribbean."
He sold a lot of honeymooners on Tahiti, although it might not
have been on top of their list.
"People will come in with Hawaii in mind but think about Tahiti
once they find out the price difference isn't that much," said
Costa Rica is another spot that tends to surpass his clients'
expectations. Curd said Costa Rica has a good selection of small,
upscale hotels from which to choose, and the nation's scenery and
relatively undeveloped state are also appealing.
"With a lot of places, you're lucky if a place meets their
expectations," said Curd. "With Costa Rica, it exceeds, and that's
Curd added that South America, in general, doesn't get as much
attention as it should.
Another of Curd's favorites are around-the-world air fares.
Depending on the airline, customers can circumnavigate the globe
for surprisingly little money, according to Curd, who said he
booked a client on a trip from Florida to Chicago to Hawaii to Hong
Kong to Bangkok to London and back to Florida.
Of course, for every underrated place there is a place that is
Donna Coffey, senior travel consultant at Carlson Wagonlit
Travel in San Diego, said Mexico is not an easy draw for her agency
due to its proximity.
Yet, while many destinations in the country are good, Coffey
thought at least one had gone too far. "Cabo San Lucas is too
Americanized; it's too expensive," said Coffey.
Coffey, who recently visited Cabo, related a story in which she
asked a concierge to reconfirm her reservations at the airport. The
cost for the call, $3.50 a minute, was enough to send her somewhere
-- Grant Flowers
Selling what lies beyond
t's no secret that travelers
are becoming more adventurous in their destinations, and the travel
agents who book these trips are getting more adventurous, too.
If you want to hear about some far afield places, ring up Dottie
Praus, an agent at Meteor International Travel in Houston, and
Praus, an avid bird-watcher, recently returned from Myanmar, the
Asian country formerly known as Burma. The nation isn't a usual
destination for tourists, but those who love natural settings and a
relatively untouched culture would enjoy it, said Praus.
three-week trip to Myanmar and Thailand included transport by
train, boat and, of course, elephant. "You're not going for the
city, you're going for the original part of the country as it was
maybe 70 years ago," she said.
Praus was recently in Nepal and India, as well, and was also
part of a 17-person group that visited Antarctica.
She's now planning a trip to Tibet and Bhutan with a group of
clients and friends.
"We don't mind roughing it for a little bit, and when you go to
Bhutan and Tibet, you do have to rough it," said Praus, who has
been an agent for 25 years.
With such destinations on her resume, it's not surprising that
Praus serves a mostly upscale clientele. Many of her clients are
members of a nature center where she used to work.
So what does it take to sell a client on such a trip?
"Not much," said Praus, "just enthusiasm and having been there.
I haven't yet been to a place in this world that wasn't great for
What if I can't pay
the taxes when a tax return is due?
A: It's important to file the return on time
anyway, even if you don't include any payment at all. By filing on
time, you can avoid the 5% per month penalty that will be assessed
for late filing, which is in addition to the late payment
mind that the IRS is usually willing to accept installment plans,
though it is more likely to do that for a company that has ceased
operations than an ongoing entity. However, as a practical matter,
the IRS has little choice but to accept an installment plan if you
can document that you do not have sufficient working capital to pay
the prior tax bill.
Q:Will the IRS waive penalties for filing
A: Not usually. The IRS will assess penalties
against you, including 5% per month up to a maximum of 25% for late
filing; 6% for late payment, which will increase to 12% after the
final notice, and 9% annual interest.
Q:Can the IRS seize my assets?
A: Yes, if you are not making an attempt to pay
the taxes you owe. If you are already behind and you don't make an
effort to catch up, and you continue to miss tax payments, the IRS
will most likely accelerate its enforcement actions against you.
The IRS wants to prevent you from creating an increasing tax debt
that you may never be able to settle.
The IRS also can file a blanket lien if it suspects you are
hiding assets. The lien prevents you from selling all real and
personal property without the IRS' approval. If you find yourself
unable to pay taxes, and you are not satisfied with the offer made
by the IRS, consider hiring an attorney or CPA to help negotiate on
Q:How long does it take for a health
problem to become an ADA disability?
A: Unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast
rules. What seems to be most important are the severity and impact
of the condition.
For example, employees with minor heart conditions that don't
hinder their job duties typically wouldn't be protected under the
Americans with Disabilities Act, although the condition is
However, a worker who has a heart attack while on the job and is
put out of commission for months could be protected although the
condition is temporary.
As a general rule, it's better to accommodate any employee with
health problems. Unfortunately, the ADA rules are so complex that
you need to get advice on a case-by-case basis.
Q:I need to talk to my employees about
dressing better for work. Any suggestions?
A: When you talk to your employees about their
attire, take the role of a coach and not judge and jury.
Make it clear that maintaining a professional appearance is part
of the work you expect from them. Cite specific ways that sloppy
dressing can affect the agency and how it's perceived by
Share your ideas of what you consider appropriate and
inappropriate, but don't get personal.
Encourage your employees to see you privately if they have any
problems with your expectations.
Former agency owner Dan McManus is president of the McManus
Group, publishers of business management advice. Contact him at [email protected].